Evangeline Sarney, Makeup Tips is a leading digital beauty publication with a readership of over 1.2 Million. Originally started in 2010 by beauty enthusiast Evangeline Sarney, the site has effortlessly transformed from a blog to a full scale digital media website and publications.
Makeup Tips provides readers with informative, helpful, expert makeup and beauty advice across a range of categories, helping readers sift through the various beauty products on the market and learn invaluable tips and tricks.
Hi Evangeline, tell us, why did you start makeup tips blog?
I started Makeup Tips with the intention of providing helpful makeup advice, tips, and product recommendations to the everyday girl. I got sick of just seeing basic beauty tips and countless product placements in the media, and wanted to create something authentic and relatable. After receiving requests on a daily basis from people asking for beauty advice, and not having nearly enough hours in the day, I decided to take up blogging full-time. Just recently I’ve taken Makeup Tips a step further, moving away from the influencer and blogging category and into a digital media publisher, this involves bringing on a range of other contributors and further establishing Makeup Tips as an expert in beauty.
What do you do day-to-day?
I wear many hats. I guess in a way you could say I’m an ambassador, writer, editor, photographer, fact checker, founder, advertising executive and marketing manager. Most of my time is spent liaising with my team, contacting PR’s, monitoring trends/new products, answering reader questions, writing articles, shooting photography content, and maintaining our social media channels (predominately Instagram and Pinterest) The more fun side is I get to trial samples, and attend beauty conferences and events!
How did you build up (and maintain) such a large audience?
I believe that having real conversation, communication, connections and honesty is a huge part of building an audience not only as a publication but as a brand, business, or influencer. As Makeup Tips had this, the site grew at a steady base and once media publications and our hosting platform took notice, our audience grew drastically.
The closest comparison would be similar to Great Customer Service, if you do it well, people appreciate it and keep coming back. Do it bad and they will go looking elsewhere. This Customer Service approach to building audiences and an online presence is the key to success. In the early days of Makeup Tips, readers would interact in the Q&A section. Readers would send in questions requesting personalized beauty advice, this allowed us to build up an audience who felt connected. We still use this element on our site, and it’s one of our best performing categories.
What is the biggest misconception people make about a career in beauty?
That it’s all free lipsticks, products, fancy events, parties, and air kisses. Whilst it’s easy to get excited about free flowers and lipstick, I believe there is no such thing as a free lunch, so it’s important to remain objective and not let these things cloud your vision. It’s business, and it’s PR. Whilst writing about beauty isn’t exactly brain surgery, there is still a lot of elements of work that goes on behind the scenes. For every artistic photo you see, we’re standing on a table trying to get the best shot, or hunched over with a tripod and self-timer, then we’re up till 1am editing those shots. It’s a lot of emails, a lot of writing, and all in all just a lot of time spent behind a computer screen.
What made you decide to change from a beauty blog and into a media publisher?
I was at a time where I felt I had taken the beauty blog, Makeup Tips as far as I could on a professional and personal level. My readers and industry colleagues were asking and searching for more! By bringing in a team of contributors, writers, and content producers, we have been able to expand our offerings, ensuring we are providing more quality content to our readers. This concept has also helped in making our site more advertiser friendly.
What are the benefit of being a publication vs a blogger/influencer?
I think there are pro’s and cons with everything. For many years I have been doing my work in the social media/influencer/ blogging area. It really comes down to personal preference, it was time for a new challenge.
I wanted a site that could be seen as an expert source of information, producing quality content, having multiple voices, and be appealing to readers, brands, and the beauty industry. It would be fair to say that a publication generally does not get as many benefits and as much product as an influencer. There is limited personal gain, everything belongs to the publication, not you personally. There are different expectations as to what coverage you will provide, and some brands tend to be a little more forward about getting their product on your site.
In building and fostering relationships with advertisers, the influencer/blogger often does not have as many requirements as they are not representing a publication, so they can move freely and just be themselves. Influencers are generally seen as being a celebrity, brands will shower them with gifts/products, fancy events, and free trips. A website publication is more about being an authority. A recommendation from an influencer is comparable to a recommendation from a friend, whilst a recommendation from a publication is more like a recommendation from an expert, a professional in their field.
How have you seen social media and blogging change over the years?
There has been a huge shift in social media and influencers. Nowadays anyone can start up a blog or social media account and become their own celebrity. With that being said this has also caused a lot of drawbacks for the industry. Whilst brands, businesses and companies have started to see the power of social media, some people have seen this as a way of reaping the benefits in an unethical way. Many promote things they don’t believe in just because they got it for free or buying 50,000 followers off a bot website in order to lure in more lucrative sponsorships. There is a huge amount of deception and fraud being exposed in the social media industry. I’m really curious to see where the industry will head over the next couple of years.
What advice would you give to brands looking to work within the digital space (and especially with influencers, blogs and digital publishers) to promote their services/products?
Do a lot of vetting, and ensure that the person you are working with has values, and concepts similar to those of your brand. If you are looking to work with an influencer, do a quick check of their followers. If you notice a lot of accounts with little followings, random numbers, and no posts, dig a little deeper. If you’re a brand looking to promote lipstick, don’t work with an influencer who has a large following of middle-aged men from random countries. Additionally, don’t overpromote. Dior done a recent campaign with influencers from all around the world, but it actually had a lot of negative backlash as consumers felt this degraded the brand. Whilst seeding can be a useful marketing tool, if your brand is on every single website, and every single social media network people start to turn off to your product after a while.
Best tip for how can businesses improve their social media?
Create really good content. Brands and companies are in a really powerful position at the moment where they become their own influencer. No matter your preferred platform your brands social media should be visual and engaging.
And, finally, your best beauty tip?!
There are way too many to list, however a tip I recommend that everyone can benefit from is to mix a small amount of orange lipstick into your concealer, this helps to correct bluetones underneath the eyes!